EXPLAINER: What is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?

A marquee displays gas prices at a Shell station on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in San Francisco. President Joe Biden on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, ordered 50 million barrels of oil released from America's strategic reserve to help bring down energy costs, in coordination with other major energy consuming nations, including India, the United Kingdom and China.

NEW YORK (AP) — When President Joe Biden ordered the release of 50 million barrels of oil from America’s strategic reserve to help reduce energy costs, he was taking aim at a growing burden for millions of Americans embarking on Thanksgiving travel.

The step announced Tuesday, done in a rare coordination with several other nations, is among the few things a presidential administration can do to try to lessen the squeeze — and the political threat — of rising inflation. The likelihood of providing meaningful relief in the near future, however, is probably low. Still, any help in easing fuel prices, even modestly, would be welcomed by many Americans.

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